Young Tommy sneaks around and discovers that his parents work hard to take care of him and his messes. After watching them slave and toil, he learns that he should be "a real member of his family team," so he can get a bigger allowance. Films like this tried to introduce kids to the idea of being a productive member of society.
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February 8, 2009 Subject:
What Goes Around
Young carefree Tommy is shown by his parents that he needs jump on Team Family to earn his allowance and become a responsible family member and ultimately, a productive member of society. Tommy grows to shine his shoes daily and makes sure the collars of his T-shirts are pressed flat. Years later in his workplace, Tommy takes members of his office hostage and is put down by SWAT team members who shine their shoes daily and make sure the collars of their T-shirts are pressed flat.
Now look, I'm not a conservative. I don't long for the old days. I ROLL my eyes when I see a review of one of these 1950's shorts that claims it something like "This short is accurate. I wish they'd show these kinds of things today. The world needs them. Now you kids put that mush on your milk and eat it! Baaaaaa!" I always find that these 50's shorts are hyper-rigid, hyper-frigid, paranoid, and laughably outdated. And this short IS all of those things.
Was there secrets not shown in this short? Yes. Alcoholism? Yes. Child and spousal abuse? Yes. Were dreams stifled to resentment? Yes. Were women and children disenfranchised? Yes, it was all there in the 50's American family and this short (like so many) doesn't go there in the least. But I couldn't help but think that the short had a point. Parents (in most families) in the 50's actually DID do a lot just to keep the family-machine running smoothely. Moms were glorified maids who got absolutely no respect. Dads worked horrible jobs so that their children could have "a chance at a better life" than he had.
I couldn't help but think that, indeed, we DO have good reason to be grateful for our parents. They DID work hard for us to have a better life, and indeed we DO have better lives than they had. That's the truth.
Highs - Truth value.
Lows - Truth value that will start you on an emotional cascade into guilt. Not fun.
September 10, 2006 Subject:
Tommy learns Capitolism
Hey, that's my kid! Only my kid would have to save for a year to get that CD she wants on only 25 cents a week. If she'd only knuckle down and do something to help around the house instead of spending all her time on My Space, she could double her allowance and only have to save for six months. I'm gonna make her watch this flick.
January 2, 2006 Subject:
Not a team player? Get out of the house.
Little Tommy is a bit of clueless twit. He didnÂ¡Â¯t realize that his Mom picks up after him, cooks and cleans, and Dad works all day to make a dollar for the family. He has to find this out by sneaking up on his parents while theyÂ¡Â¯re doing the dishes and OVERHEARING THEM. Like, what was Tommy thinking? That fairies picked up after him? That he had a maid? Well, after this revelation, he wants in on the action too! Soon, heÂ¡Â¯s cleaning up after himself, fixing stuff by himself and helping Mom wash the dishes, because this makes him feel heÂ¡Â¯s more part of the family! This is probably the ultimate guilt-driven conformative guidance film ever. Kids: Help your family out or you wonÂ¡Â¯t be considered one of the family! Truly mind boggling.
March 4, 2005 Subject:
Clean up your room!
Tommy is a disgruntled, slovenly child earning a whopping .25 per week, and his mother gets a whole 1.00 . Dad is an electrician who works in coveralls, but wears a shirt & tie around the house? But why not wear a tuxedo? Tommy decides he'll help his father paint chairs red and get .50 per week. Try pitching this idea to NBC.
LESSON: Don't leave your dirty socks on the radiator.
November 4, 2004 Subject:
And pay homage to Gorto!
Just not the same without the puppet robots making fun of little Tommy, as he learns not to be a greedy slob, and instead, help out his parents. This short was wonderfully mocked on MST3k, I believe in the episode featuring "The Unearthly."
Still, light, campy indoctrination.
September 13, 2004 Subject:
Get Porky Some Pants!
Little Tommy suddenly comes to the realization that his parents work, and so decides to be a cooperative member of the family team, unlike the slacker we all know he used to be. A film version of your mom telling you that things would be a lot better around here if you kids would just help out for once. And it probably went over about as well to its intended audience. It's fun to watch them try, though, and the film's innocent earnestness makes great fodder for msting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.